Influenza virus-like particles produced by transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana induce a protective immune response against a lethal viral challenge in mice.
ABSTRACT A strain-specific vaccine represents the best possible response to the threat of an influenza pandemic. Rapid delivery of such a vaccine to the world's population before the peak of the first infection wave seems to be an unattainable goal with the current influenza vaccine manufacturing capacity. Plant-based transient expression is one of the few production systems that can meet the anticipated surge requirement. To assess the capability of plant agroinfiltration to produce an influenza vaccine, we expressed haemagglutinin (HA) from strains A/Indonesia/5/05 (H5N1) and A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) by agroinfiltration of Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Size distribution analysis of protein content in infiltrated leaves revealed that HA was predominantly assembled into high-molecular-weight structures. H5-containing structures were purified and examination by transmission electron microscopy confirmed virus-like particle (VLP) assembly. High-performance thin layer chromatography analysis of VLP lipid composition highlighted polar and neutral lipid contents comparable with those of purified plasma membranes from tobacco plants. Electron microscopy of VLP-producing cells in N. benthamiana leaves confirmed that VLPs accumulated in apoplastic indentations of the plasma membrane. Finally, immunization of mice with two doses of as little as 0.1 microg of purified influenza H5-VLPs triggered a strong immune response against the homologous virus, whereas two doses of 0.5 microg of H5-VLPs conferred complete protection against a lethal challenge with the heterologous A/Vietnam/1194/04 (H5N1) strain. These results show, for the first time, that plants are capable of producing enveloped influenza VLPs budding from the plasma membrane; such VLPs represent very promising candidates for vaccination against influenza pandemic strains.
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ABSTRACT: Influenza infections continue to present a major threat to public health. Traditional modes of influenza vaccine manufacturing are failing to satisfy the global demand because of limited scalability and long production timelines. In contrast, subunit vaccines (SUVs) can be produced in heterologous expression systems in shorter times and at higher quantities. Plants are emerging as a promising platform for SUV production due to time efficiency, scalability, lack of harbored mammalian pathogens and possession of the machinery for eukaryotic post-translational protein modifications. So far, several organizations have utilized plant-based transient expression systems to produce SUVs against influenza, including vaccines based on virus-like particles. Plant-produced influenza SUV candidates have been extensively evaluated in animal models and some have shown safety and immunogenicity in clinical trials. Here, the authors review ongoing efforts and challenges to producing influenza SUV candidates in plants and discuss the likelihood of bringing these products to the market.Expert Review of Vaccines 12/2014; DOI:10.1586/14760584.2015.989988 · 4.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The expression of recombinant hemagglutinin in plants is a promising alternative to the current egg-based production system for the influenza vaccines. Protein-stabilizing fusion partners have been developed to overcome the low production yields and the high downstream process costs associated with the plant expression system. In this context, we tested the fusion of hydrophobin I to the hemagglutinin ectodomain of the influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus controlled by the hybrid En2PMA4 transcriptional promoter to rapidly produce high levels of recombinant antigen by transient expression in agro-infiltrated Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. The fusion increased the expression level by a factor of ∼2.5 compared to the unfused protein allowing a high accumulation level of 8.6% of the total soluble proteins. Hemagglutinin was located in ER-derived protein bodies and was successfully purified by combining an aqueous-two phase partition system and a salting out step. Hydrophobin interactions allowed the formation of high molecular weight hemagglutinin structures, while unfused proteins were produced as monomers. Purified protein was shown to be biologically active and to induce neutralizing antibodies after mice immunization. Hydrophobin fusion to influenza hemagglutinin might therefore be a promising approach for rapid, easy, and low cost production of seasonal or pandemic influenza vaccines in plants.PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e115944. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115944 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Article: Plant-based vaccines against viruses[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Plant-made or ¿biofarmed¿ viral vaccines are some of the earliest products of the technology of plant molecular farming, and remain some of the brightest prospects for the success of this field. Proofs of principle and of efficacy exist for many candidate viral veterinary vaccines; the use of plant-made viral antigens and of monoclonal antibodies for therapy of animal and even human viral disease is also well established. This review explores some of the more prominent recent advances in the biofarming of viral vaccines and therapies, including the recent use of ZMapp for Ebolavirus infection, and explores some possible future applications of the technology.Virology Journal 12/2014; 11(1):205. DOI:10.1186/PREACCEPT-2088894788140228 · 2.09 Impact Factor